Carbs: not the evil you think they are

Carbohydrates are often just branded as the thing that makes you fat and stops you losing fat. While this is true for some carbs, not all carbs are the evil they are branded as. In fact, carbs are necessary on a daily basis and the right choice of carbs are essential to losing weight and being healthy.

Carbs are not created equal

The type of carb you choose can lead to muscle building, energy yielding goodness that will fuel your workouts, or energy spikes that could leave you flat in the gym, fatigued, and hungry. The sad truth is that most of the carbs we love; white rice, white bread, sugary cereals, chips, sweets, and even pasta, are all high GI carbs which lead to these energy spikes. The better options include; oats, couscous, barley, whole-wheat bread, fruit, vegetables, and sweet potatoes.

Another sad reality is that the former choices of carbs aren’t high in minerals, vitamins, and fibre either. The latter are excellent sources of micronutrients that aid in metabolic and digestive processes, which work to make the other food you eat more efficient. These are the carbs that will keep your energy levels full throughout the day, as well as keeping your appetite in control. These are what is known as good carbs, or complex carbs, because they are made up of polysaccharides which have a multiple-sugar molecular structure, so they take more time and energy to break down.

The other carbs are known as simple carbs because they are simple to digest and break down rapidly after ingestion. This is because they are made up of monosaccharides, which means they have a single-sugar molecular structure, and disaccharides, containing a two-sugar molecular structure. The most common examples of these include glucose, and fructose, along with sucrose, lactose, and maltose respectively. Often these foods have even more sugar added to them, particularly cereals, sweets, and cakes, and spike your blood glucose to give you a quick burst of energy but once insulin has done its job and lowered your glucose levels, you feel fatigued, hungry, and like you are “crashing”.

Timing is key

These carbs should be eliminated heavily from your diet but not absolutely. They do still have a place in a healthy diet and can offer some unique benefits. They are a great choice if you are looking for a quick burst of fuel before your workout, as chomping down a bowl of oats might not be the best idea. Something like a bran muffin or fruit is a great way of quickly getting some sugar into you before you train and get some sustenance as well.

Author: Rob De Wit

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